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Financial guidance throughout a client’s life journey

by Oct 16, 2019Advisor Interviews

Financial guidance throughout a client’s life journey

by Oct 16, 2019Advisor Interviews

Ernesto Ramirez • Coral Gables, FL
OneMiami Financial Group • OneAmerica Securities Inc.
Read full biography below

Proactive Advisor Magazine: Ernesto, how do you define your role in working with clients at OneMiami Financial Group?

I am a full-service financial advisor and seek to find suitable solutions for a variety of my clients’ financial needs. It is all about learning who the client is, what’s important to that client and their family, and mapping out a path that’s going to help them get to where they see themselves over the next five, 10, 20 years, and beyond, depending on their specific time horizon and objectives.

Working with the resources of our firm, I can help clients in many different areas: financial planning; insurance planning and risk management; long-term-care planning; investment management; and retirement, charitable-giving, and estate planning. I strive to help clients develop the foundation for a personalized road map for their financial future. Working as an advisor, I can offer clients a wide range of financial approaches, products, and services.

I am very pleased to have joined OneMiami and to be working with our broker-dealer, OneAmerica Securities Inc. They both provide excellent support services and establish an environment that is conducive to putting the focus on the client. Three factors influenced my decision to join OneMiami: their business model is comprehensive, their approach to client relationships fits well with my own, and I believed that there was good chemistry with the firm’s management.

Talk about the philosophy behind your financial-planning process.

The OneMiami philosophy is a hands-on, tailored approach to getting to know clients, finding out what their needs are, and educating them along the way so that they can make informed financial decisions. This approach helps our clients understand financial concepts and dynamics and to work with us in developing a plan that balances growth potential with risk reduction.

Every client is different. Most people feel that they have their finances in good order. Then you meet with them and start asking the tough questions, presenting what-if scenarios, and shedding light on things they weren’t even aware of. These might include issues related to the many options for legacy and retirement-income planning, the potentially high cost of medical and long-term care in the future, inflationary pressures on one’s rate of asset growth, and the factors related to longevity. Once you have those conversations, little lights start going off and eyebrows go up, and clients will have more questions along the way. That’s where educating clients and providing them with in-depth, yet easily accessible, information comes into play.

In terms of the formal process, I like to use what I think of as a “reverse-engineering process.” I spend a lot of time on discovery. I ask about the client or family’s financial situation, gather the hard data, and ask about the clients’ goals over the course of their working lives and then into and through retirement. Once I have a broad picture of their current financial health and their aspirational objectives, we can start to address some of the more obvious factors: their age, family situation, time horizons, risk tolerance, assets and liabilities, and potential future income streams.

From there, we can start the reverse-engineering process. It is great to have the sophisticated tools to look at a number of scenarios, and that is something we do. But that is really not enough. Life does not always follow a nice, neat, straight-line scenario. We need to fully consider what-if scenarios. What happens if there is a loss in income for the main income producer? A death, disability, or severe illness? Some other type of family emergency? Another steep market crash similar to 2008–2009? Our process allows us to consider those types of factors and ways to build risk-management solutions into a client’s entire financial plan, not just their investment plan. My goal is to first enhance the probabilities for taking care of what’s absolutely critical. Then we can address solutions for accomplishing the more aspirational goals and also try to increase the probability of being able to achieve them over the long term.

What are some key principles of your investment-planning process?

I do not think that there is only one right approach to investment planning. It should be driven by a client’s financial plan and their overall objectives. There can and should be different philosophies and different approaches for different clients. The investment planning for a young family will usually look very different from that of a husband and wife close to retirement.

I subscribe to several principles when it comes to investment planning. First, I view myself as the quarterback of the investment process and, as appropriate, the manager of managers. I am deeply involved in decisions about portfolio allocation. In terms of specific strategies, investment selections, and execution, I think that using professional third-party investment managers makes a lot of sense for most of my clients. They have the dedicated resources, research departments, strategic capabilities, and day-to-day focus that can be very valuable in investment management.

Second, I believe risk management should be paramount for almost all clients. Clients sometimes let emotions get in the way of sound investment decision-making. I will often suggest they consider an allocation of both active and passive strategies and strategic and tactical approaches. While we are seeking growth for clients, we also want to mitigate risk during the steep declines of a true bear market. Having a well-diversified, blended approach can work toward those two equally important objectives. Though I don’t usually make day-to-day investment decisions on behalf of clients, I follow the markets extremely closely. It is a constantly changing investment environment. Clients are often tempted to request changes to their investment plan based on the latest headlines or market moves. I am there to provide sound guidance and a longer-term perspective, as well as to remind them about the overall objectives that flow from their financial plan.

A final point relates to the selection of the managers I choose to work with. At the end of the day, they reflect the services I am providing to clients. I take the due-diligence process very seriously. I want to do everything in my power to help make sure that the investment philosophy, strategic approaches, and quality of services that a manager delivers are aligned with the needs of my clients. Of course, performance is important. But performance needs to be viewed through the lens of how any specific strategy may perform during different market environments. My main concern is that a manager is delivering on the management style, day-to-day execution, service quality, and active reallocation principles that I believed were suitable for my clients in the first place.

“I believe risk management should be paramount for almost all clients.”

What do you think clients value most in working with you?

I am very grateful to have built a strong group of loyal clients over the years. While my clients are diverse, this is especially true within the Latino community. The majority of my new clients are friends, family, or business associates of current clients who referred them. My client base leans toward hard-working, successful individuals and families who range in age from their 30s to their 70s. They want to see the success they have achieved in their work and family lives be enhanced through solid financial guidance. They are concerned with trying to grow and protect their assets and having suitable solutions in place for areas such as college financing, legacy planning, retirement income, and risk mitigation for unforeseen events.

I think they most appreciate the fact that I work toward presenting financial strategies that are based on solid financial and economic principles and do so in a respectful manner. I spend a lot of time explaining to new clients that I want to be there for them over the long run. That includes building relationships whenever possible with other trusted professionals they may be working with. I think all my clients know that I have their goals in mind and that it is not just a transactional relationship. I want them to have full conviction that I genuinely care about what’s happening in their lives and will do my utmost to help them along their life journey.

Due diligence in the selection of investment managers

Ernesto Ramirez is a financial advisor with OneMiami Financial Group, located in Coral Gables, Florida. He provides comprehensive financial guidance in helping clients build “a personalized road map for their financial future.” Mr. Ramirez says that he works closely with select third-party investment managers and that their performance directly reflects the services he provides to clients. His due-diligence process in selecting managers is a top priority and addresses these key criteria:

  • Their specific investment philosophy and how that aligns with clients’ objectives.
  • Investment performance over a significant period of time.
  • Their research and strategic development capabilities.
  • How they incorporate risk management within their investment process.
  • Their approach to active management and making changes to strategic allocations based on market conditions.
  • The strength of their management and support teams.
  • Their capabilities and commitment to quality service, communication, and reporting.

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Ernesto Ramirez is a financial advisor with OneMiami Financial Group, located in Coral Gables, Florida. He has over 20 years of experience in wealth management, assisting clients in meeting their financial goals. Using his firm’s resources, he can offer a variety of services to individual clients and families, including financial planning; insurance planning and risk management; long-term-care planning; investment management; and retirement, charitable-giving, and estate planning.

Mr. Ramirez spent his childhood in New York City and the Dominican Republic, his parents’ home country. They returned there for retirement after working for many years in New York. Mr. Ramirez says, “My parents were hard-working, took great care of the family, and encouraged us in our studies. With their support, I was motivated to become a good student. I also loved playing all kinds of sports.” He took courses in business management and finance at LaGuardia Community College in New York.

Mr. Ramirez started his business career in the retail field and shortly after entered financial services in the banking industry. “I loved my first exposure to the financial markets and decided I wanted to make that my career path,” says Mr. Ramirez. He went on to work as an account executive for several securities firms, including New York Life, where he gained experience with insurance products and services.

Mr. Ramirez worked for 13 years in the branch-based investment division of Chase Bank as a private client advisor. He says he “fostered strong relationships and offered a holistic approach to wealth management.” He joined OneMiami Financial Group in 2018, where he helps clients develop the foundation for “a personalized road map for their financial future.”

Mr. Ramirez lives in the Miami area and has one adult son. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends, being outdoors and at the beach, and watching his favorite sports teams.

Disclosure: Registered representative and investment advisor representative of and securities offered through OneAmerica Securities Inc., a registered investment advisor, member FINRA, SIPC. OneMiami Financial Group is not an affiliate of OneAmerica Securities and is not a broker-dealer or registered investment advisor. Provided content is for overview and informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be relied upon as individualized tax, legal, fiduciary, or investment advice. Neither the companies of OneAmerica, OneMiami Financial Group nor their representatives provide tax or legal advice. For answers to specific questions and before making any decisions, please consult a qualified attorney or tax advisor. Investing involves risk which includes potential loss of principal. The use of asset allocation or diversification does not assure a profit or guarantee against a loss.

Photography by Jennifer Jones


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